Snooker star Neil Robertson told off during match in strange banana incident

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Snooker star Neil Robertson was left perplexed after being told that he could not eat a banana between frames during his 6-1 quarter-final win over Fan Zhengyi at the Shanghai Masters. The Aussie coasted to victory, but the match may instead be remembered for his incident with the official.

Between the fifth and sixth frames, with the 2010 world champion in a commanding lead, he took a bite out of a banana as he awaited the next frame to commence. However, referee Zhu Ying immediately went over to Robertson’s chair and bizarrely reminded him that he was not allowed to eat, with the 41-year-old gobsmacked as he was unaware of the supposed rule.

Having something small to eat is usually permitted during snooker matches, which can be lengthy and draining on the body and mind for players locked in battle. Robertson did put the banana away, but later sought advice on social media having been dumbfounded at the idea that he was not allowed to eat between frames.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Robertson wrote: “Please clarify this isn’t a new rule stopping players eating potentially during matches that can go for a few hours? I don’t see the issue a player biting a banana in between a frame? Every other sport in the world allows this during breaks.”

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Former World Snooker Championship referee Paul Collier explained: “I’ve just spoken to the guys in Shanghai and it appears to be a little ‘lost in translation’. You are allowed to eat a banana between frames, the referee made a small error and it will be addressed for the rest of the event. Just don’t start eating bananas with logos on them!”

It remains to be seen whether Robertson will bring out a banana for Saturday’s semi-final with Luca Brecel, having since been made aware that his telling-off was simply lost in translation in China, though he joked that fans had been handing him bananas as a result of the incident.

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“I’ve had fans in China waiting for me in the hotel to give me bananas as they think it’s my super power,” he wrote on X.

He then further pointed fun at the strange situation, posting a photo of rival Mark Williams at the World Snooker Championship eating, tagging the Welshman and writing: “Frame losing offence now. New rule.”

Robertson will be bidding to reach the final of the Shanghai Masters for the first time since its creation in 2007, though has to overcome reigning world champion Brecel first, with Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Selby awaiting him in Sunday’s final.

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